The False Reality of Consciousness

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The False Reality of Consciousness

Post by SamCogar on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:24 pm


(as defined by two unknown authors)

It is perhaps obvious that our modern conscious brain has evolved after millions of years of an unconscious brain, and in the usual evolutionary the conscious part is an "add-on" to an already developed part. There is a natural evolutionary path, from unconscious to conscious, it is not possible to flip a switch and make a conscious brain overnight. Therefore it makes sense if a majority of brain activity takes place in the primordial, unconscious part.

The natural reaction is to say "I am more than just a collection of synapses firing!". It is perhaps less obvious to realize that the conscious part must believe it is in sole control of the mind, for it to be effective. If you have been subject to involuntary movement, it is quite distressing to feel you are not in conscious control of you body. In fact, mostly we are not, but the brain does a really good job of hiding the fact, to the point where the thought of moving a muscle occurs after it happens, but the conscious part believes that the thought led to the action.

The illusion of self is powerful, and it must be, otherwise we couldn't function properly. This leads to the instinctive denial of people like Raymond Tallis.

The illusion of self has some important side-effects which are subtle and insidious. We become very good at rationalizing decisions, but in many cases research shows that a decision is made at a sub-conscious level, and the conscious part creates reasons for why the decision was made. Again, this trick is vital, we must feel that our thoughts are our own, otherwise we would go mad. But, it means we excel at self-deception.

Unfortunately, this means that the smarter people get, the better they are able to convince themselves and others of their own decision making, so does not automatically lead to better decisions.

Until humans fully understand the conceptual trap that their own mind has created, they will not get past the limits of thinking that the illusion of self creates.


If you compare a computer's circuits when it is running Windows to when it is running Linux is there any difference? Every transistor in all the IC's that make up the computer is identical. But you can see the different "personality" .There is no way you could possibly tell by mapping out each and every circuit in the machine which OS the thing is running.

So consciousness is simply the program running on the neural hardware.

One day, and real soon now, there will be a way of transferring the PROGRAM from a biological computer to something else. You will be able to save the "me" to a hard-drive or something equivalent so if I die I will be able to come back in exactly the same state.

Just the same as you now hibernate your computer. Everything.. the information about every state of the machine gets saved.

There is no magic involved, there is no mystery. The "I" is just complex software that runs on smart biological hardware.

SamCogar

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